Soul Searching

I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately. I’ve been debating whether or not to further my education, specifically whether or not to spend the money to go to law school. And if I don’t earn an advanced degree before I’m 30, will I ever earn one? Do I really need one? I’ve always wanted one. But hot damn that shit is expensive.

I could ramble on and on about this. Hell, I could write a freaking series about this. Maybe I will. It might help.

I go in roundabout ways sometimes, trying to figure out what my real career ambitions are. What would actually make me the happiest? Not just my parents. Not just what sounds good or looks good on paper. Not just prestigious for the damn sake of prestige. Not just ambitious for the damn sake of ambition.

And in no grand surprise to those who really know me, I always end up here. I want to be a writer. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. But I don’t just want to be a reporter, I want to be a commentator. I want to write about how we can move forward as a society. I want to research and learn about the problems facing us as a community and what we can do to address them. And then I want to educate people about them.

Ultimately, I would love to write for any of these publications:

The Nation

The Progressive

Mother Jones

Young Progressive Voices

Campaign for America’s Future

Alternet

Common Dreams

Working Mother Magazine

Rolling Stone

The Atlantic

RH Reality Check

Liberal America

Addicting Info

And write books too.

The thing is. Well actually there are two things.

1) I don’t know how to get there. There are, I assume, many ways to get there. No two writers at any of these publications have the same path. Some of them have advanced degrees. I guess all I can do is write….and submit. Get turned down and do it again until it sticks. Now hiring a personal editor (because I really need one). I will pay in Dixie cuddles.

dixie

2) Making money. Writers and bloggers can and do sustain themselves with their craft. But it takes time, effort and lots of failure to get there. We’ve got bills to pay now. I can’t abandon an income to work on my craft. I always thought I could work full-time and write on the side. No biggie. Just write on the evenings and weekends. I can and should try harder to do that, but it’s freaking hard. My job is very demanding and very stressful and there are many weeks when I am actually working evenings and weekends, leaving very little time for anything else. But I guess there comes a time when you stop whining and you just do it. If I can make time to run, I can make time to write.

“Lots of things get in the way of art. Discouragement is at the top of the list, along with the need to earn money and the birth of children. It’s hard to tell, when you’re new at writing, whether you might be foolish to continue to pursue the dream, or whether the more foolish choice would be to put that dream to bed. Luck plays a role, too, as it does in every other aspect of life. Continuing to find a place for art in one’s life is a continual challenge.”
— The Rumpus Interview with Julie Schumacher, author of Dear Committee Members

And then there’s the ever-pervasive self-doubt and all-consuming fear of failure. Am I really good enough to do this? Will they laugh at my submissions? Will I ever have a solid readership? Will I ever make money doing this?

But I’m done letting self-doubt own me. It will always be there, but I’m not going to let it keep me down. It has stalled me too much already. I can do this. I can.

As always, thanks for reading.

“The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can think.” – Edwin Schlossberg

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